Major New Campaign Highlighting Rights and Supports for Victims of Crime
The Minister for Justice Simon Harris has launched a significant new awareness campaign highlighting the rights available to you if you are victims of crime.
The campaign – which will run across TV, local and national radio, digital and social – directs people to the VictimsCharter.ie website which sets out your rights in an easily accessible manner, and helps victims of crime to locate services and supports available.
Two adverts – ‘Diversity’ and ‘Translations’ – form the centrepiece of the ‘Victims of Crime – Know your rights’ campaign, and were developed with marginalised, minority and harder-to-reach communities in mind.
Minister Harris said, “we know that being a victim of crime can be traumatic, and victims can understandably struggle with knowing what to do next or what they are legally entitled to when engaging with our criminal justice system. It is so important to know that you have rights, you have a voice and that there are supports available to you. That is what this campaign is about – getting people to know their rights, getting victims to recognise VictimsCharter.ie as an important resource to which they can turn to for information and help when they need it most.”
“And I’m delighted to see the inclusive focus in this campaign. We hope that everyone living in Ireland will see themselves reflected in these ads. We know some groups in our society can be harder to reach and unfortunately we also know that some marginalised communities can be fearful of reporting crimes. Issues of intersectionality have arisen strongly in our engagement with victims’ groups in recent years and this is something we will be working to address. Victims’ rights and supports are available to all, and everyone should be aware of them.”
The Third National Strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence, launched last June, is the first that recognises that certain groups can be at higher risk than others. Those at a higher risk include individuals with disabilities, asylum seekers, trafficked persons, as well as Travellers, Roma and members of the LGBTI+ community.
This campaign helps fulfil an action in the Third National Strategy to raise awareness of the legislation on victims’ rights that currently exists. ‘Diversity’ is focused on community inclusivity – marginalised cohorts, people with a disability, the Travelling community, and older generations are represented. ‘Translations’ is focused on ethnicity and migrant communities. Text from the Victims Charter is shown on faces, translated into various languages including Polish, Mandarin, French, Lithuanian, Arabic and Portuguese.
Minister Harris added, “if you are a victim of crime in Ireland you have rights – that includes everything from interpretation and translation services, to being accompanied by someone at all stages of the process, to information about any release date of the offender.”
“I would encourage anyone who has been the victim of a crime to reach out to An Garda Síochána, but to also be aware that supports – such as Crime Victims Helpline on 116006 – are available even if you don’t report the crime.”
The Department of Justice published a new and expanded Victims Charter in 2020 to take account of the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017. VictimsCharter.ie was launched in 2021 to provide the information in an easily accessible manner, while still hosting all the information in the Charter.
The journey a victim of crime may face can be divided into three stages: Support and Reporting Stage, the Courts Process and The Post-Trial Stage. VictimsCharter.ie provides victims with the information relevant at each of these stages. It also has a section on their rights and the law.
As part of this awareness campaign, a series of animated educational videos have been created on each stage of the journey, and added to VictimsCharter.ie and will be used on social media to help people navigate the site.